Tag Archives: Trailheads

Snag Lake California

Snag Lake California

 

Lakes Basin Recreation Area
Snag Lake

A free lake camp in between Truckee & Quincy, CA

This is one of many small lakes situated within the Lakes Basin Recreation Area , in the Northern Sierra Nevada mountains. Just north of Downieville & Historic Gold Country. Snag Lake is nothing special compared to the rest of the scenic lakes close by, but it is worth a mention due to a few fun facts.

Sierra Nevada Lake

One thing this small lake campground does have is convenience, located right on the Gold Lake Highway – next to Goose Lake, plus hiking distance to the largest of the lakes, Gold Lake. The second feature is the campground is small, 16 primitive sites, picnic tables & one vault toilet. The third thing is that this is a FREE campground; no charge.

campsite snag lake

Snag Lake Campground

• Elevation: 6600′
• Number of Sites: 16
• Vehicle Accessibility: Small RVs
• Campsites Reservation: No
• Camp Fee: No
• Length of Stay: 14 Days
• Season: June – October
• Trailheads: Gold Lake

Boulder Hopping

dirt drive (no pavement)

No motorized boats allowed. No paved boat ramps. Kayaks & canoes can hand launch from several spots. The dirt driveway is easily missed, especially at night. The old wooden, forest service sign is not reflective. The vault toilet is close to the highway and the camp sites are along the lake edge. No pavement anywhere!

Upon arrival, camper trailers will want to get out and select the best route to a camp site. The small boulders, dead trees, root and rock obstacles are abundant on the dirt road entry, all around the campground, and at each camp site. High clearance vehicles would fair best at this camp, but some passenger cars may be able to manage the rocky entrance. Get out and look at the road, before scraping across the biggest rock. Slowly, carefully, maybe… and preferably an arrival before dark.

LOCALS TIP: The wind tends to pick up at night around these lakes, so brace your tent well and position your vehicle appropriately.

NFS lake camping lake fishin hiking lakes lakes

fishing lake?

rainbow trout

Obviously with a name like SNAG, you can imagine that the fishing here is not the best, since roots and old tree stumps make up a good portion of the shoreline. Luckily there are a dozen alpine lakes within a 20 mile radius to choose from for another fishing spot. Some lakes are hike-in only, some require 4×4 to reach and others have cabin resorts.

towns nearby –

sierra snow

SEASONAL SNOW CLOSURES

snowmobile
Gold Lake Hwy (or Gold Lake Road) closes in the winter months (NOV-APRIL) due to snow and the region is used as a winter recreation area. Cross-country skiing and snow-mobiling are both popular activities.

driftwood

Lassen – Snag Lake

ANOTHER SNAG LAKE in NorCal, can be found by foot, hiking into the Lassen Volcanic Wilderness. Backpacking the lake loop is approx 17 miles RT and includes 3 lakes – Snag Lake, Widow Lake, and Jakey Lake. Trailhead is located at Juniper Lake, at the north shore.

read more about this hike

hiker

SIERRA LAKES

4×4 lakes
backpacking lake
camping lakes
canoeing lake
fishing lakes
hiking lake
kayaking lakes
waterfalls

Snow Goose Festival

BIRDERS unite under the Pacific Flyway

spillwaycrews

19 years running, the Snow Goose Festival’s mission is to increase public awareness, understanding, appreciation and conservation of the diverse wildlife and unique habitats of the northern Sacramento Valley.

Workshops and field trips; advanced reservations online

Annual event; January
530-592-9092

CHICO CA

snowgoosefestival.org

Balch Park

Balch Park / Sequoia Park

Balch Park Campground

BALCH PARK campground is on a first come basis; no campground reservations needed.

Balch Park open May to October
Park info # 559 539-3896

Hedrick Pond lined w/ Sequoia trees

Balch County Park is right in the middle of Mountain Home State Forest, which is within the bigger Sequoia National Forest (aka Giant Sequoia National Monument). But don’t let all the bureaucracy mislead you, this is an ideal park and location, well worth your trip. The campground is the most developed one within the area – with paved roads, RV spaces, flush toilets and a fee to go along with all that. Even gotta fishing pond.

  • Bears are a big deal in these neck of the woods. Please store all your food properly to avoid a un-welcomed visitor
  • A Sequoia Grove is nearby with plenty of creeks & meadows.
  • Trailers not recommended due to the long curvy road leading up the mountain.

Balch Park & Campground NOT TO BE CONFUSED with utility company residences of BALCH CAMP between Pine Flat & Blackrock Reservoirs


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Helpful Maps:

Nearby cities & towns:

campground elev. spots veg toilet water fee
Balch Park
559-539-3896
6500′ 71 pines flush piped yes no reservations
first come basis

DSCN0021

Borrego Park

Anza Park / Borrego Park

purplmtns_i

East San Diego County, Borrego Springs CA

San Diego Backcountry
600,000 acres of SoCal desert
San Diego desert maps

BLOOM: mid-March thru May
Anza Park elevations range from low to high. Lowest near eastern border (next to the Salton Sea) to the upper reaches of the western slopes @ 4000′. Wide, deep, sandy, long desert washes, native petroglphs, wind caves, slot canyons and split mountain. This uncrowded state park has the most acreages than all of the parks.

OPEN CAMPING

Camp in a developed campground, a small back country site or camp primitive on nearly any dirt road. Car camping to 4×4, this park has lots to offer folks wishing to really escape. No ground fires allowed, so bring your metal campfire bucket and large trash bag to carry out your ashes. The last thing you want is to scar these pristine white desert washes.

DESERT WILDFLOWERS

Steep rocky canyons on the Laguna mountain foothills can be challenging terrain, so bring good, sturdy hiking boots. Wildflowers can be abundant on certain years. Lower elevations sprout up first; Higher elevations along County Rd S-2 & S-22 bloom later in Spring. By June 1st most of the color is gone in and around Borrego Springs, so this is a real Winter and Spring vacation kinda spot. California desert wildflowers include primrose, barrel cactus, prickly pear, monkey flower, ocotillo & many more.

ANZA BORREGO WILDFLOWERS

seaoflavendar

see also BORREGO SPRINGS

find you way easily with the Anza Borrego Desert Map

anza park

This is the largest State Park in California and “open car camping” is allowed on the back roads. (also referred to as primitive camping, free camping or 4×4 camping) One of the few places in Southern California that you can camp outside of a developed Campground and still have a campfire. You gotta bring a large metal bucket to have your campfire in – as ashes scar white sandy washes and ground fires are not allowed.

Faucherie Lake

Faucherie Kayak Camp

Faucherie Lake California

Lake Faucherie is set in spectacular scenery of granite mountains, with peaks and waterfalls all around. Many believe that you could only reach this kinda high elevation beauty by foot, with a backpack, but here it is – accessible by a very long, rough & rocky backroad.

No motorhomes, no camper trailers, no motorboats, no engine noises on the lake, no big families. Just well-deserved solitude, finally. Peace and quiet!

Perfect alpine lake for car-top boaters – those who carry their boats on top of a vehicle. But be warned very few ‘passenger cars’ make it back this far, due to the challenging roads.

BACKPACKING, CAMPING, CANOEING, FISHING, FLOATING, HIKING, KAYAKING, OFF-ROADING, SOAKING, STARGAZING, SWIMMING

No motorized boats or watercraft allowed. One public boat ramp; gravel parking area, vault toilets, gated entry for group campground. No more driving across dam (it is now gated).

NFS NFS NFS kayak camp hiking mountains NFS backroads snowmelt stars

Faucherie Lake Road – a spur road, off of the ‘843 Road’ leads up to both Sawmill & Faucherie Lakes, as well as the Canyon Creek Campground.

This primitive road forks off at Jackson Creek Campground, Tahoe NF, way, way back behind Bowman Lake. The rugged route is also known as Nevada County Rd #843-037. Conflicting numbers appear on USDA web site for this route, so don’t get confused.

The brown Forest Service signage is decent at Jackson Creek Campground – so if you get that far, you’re almost there. Sorta. Did I mention how crazy the road is? Any wet weather or snow will make this route “4×4 required”. This place is closed off about half the year, due to deep snow (NOV-MAY). Although on summer weekends, this area is busy for a remote high Sierra lakes region.

To reach this rugged Canyon Creek takes hours of driving with a good backcountry map and a reliable, high clearance rig. AWD Subies and mini SUVs beware, you’ll need a spotter on the bad sections of this road (or risk serious oil pan damage). Or perhaps maybe, we “shouldn’t be back on these kinda roads in that ‘lil sportwagon’ missy.”

See more details on driving directions for Canyon Creek Campground.

Crystal Clear Faucherie

Faucherie Lake Group Campground
(25 people maximum per site)

• Elevation: 6135′
• Number of Sites: 2
• Vehicle Access: High Clearance Vehicle, no trailers
• Campsites Reservation: Yes
• Camp Fee: Yes
• Season: June – October
• Trailheads: Faucherie Lake Falls, Five Lakes Basin, French Lake, Haystack Mountain

camp
Faucherie Group Camping

Campground Reservations:
Nevada Irrigation District
530-265-5302

incoming flow

Faucherie Falls – Six waterfalls above lake:
Upper Faucherie Lake Falls #1: 39.4257 N, 120.5616 W
Upper Faucherie Lake Falls #2: 39.4257 N, 120.5606 W
Upper Faucherie Lake Falls #3: 39.4262 N, 120.5568 W
Upper Faucherie Lake Falls #4: 39.4268 N, 120.5550 W
Upper Faucherie Lake Falls #5: 39.4270 N, 120.5544 W
Upper Faucherie Lake Falls #6: 39.4272 N, 120.5538 W
USGS Topo: English Mountain

Granite Faucherie

San Diego Hiking Trails

San Diego hikes, SD hiking, San Diego Mountains

Anza Borrego Desert Slot Canyons
Anza Borrego Desert Slot Canyons

Back a couple of decades ago, inspiration and research for creating this very web site began in the deserted hills behind San Diego. Escaping the city at every chance, some feel the rat race more than others. Luckily the desert is close and there is plenty of space for everyone. California boulders and badlands, hot springs, pine meadows, great views, oak forests creeks, coastal cliffs and lush canyons near downtown, SD does have some awesome hiking trails – even a few waterfalls too.

LagunaMdws

San Diego County Parks Map w/ links
descanso_sign
SD small towns w/ hiking trails nearby
signjulian

San Diego Hiking Maps

ClevelandMap_07

California Campground Maps

California topo mapsWhen you go camping, you wanna explore the area. That’s why you are camping there, right? Hiking & biking trails, equestrian trails, off road routes, river, streams, waterfalls & the closest trail heads. If you prefer primitive camping, outside of developed campgrounds without all the amenities, topographic maps of the back roads give you a perfect overview on where to begin your search. The ultimate creek side camp spot awaits.

The California maps we carry have developed Campgrounds featured for that region. These camps could be managed by any government agency, BLM, NPS, NFS, SP or perhaps a private campground. Below is a list of gorgeous regions that have excellent Campgrounds:

CA National Forest Maps

grover hot springs

Sequoia Sierra

Sequoia Parks, an overview by Total Escape.Sequoia sierra

As if the government wasn’t confusing enough, now they have named so many areas of the Sierra Nevada “Sequoia” that it confuses people even more. For Pete’s sake, all we wanna do is see some big trees, hike, fish, camp and really relax.

The largest trees in the whole wide world are grounded right here in Cali, deep in the forests of the incredible Sierra Nevada mountains. The giant Sequoia groves are found in several parks in the Sierra, and are not specific to just the parks boundaries. You can find them as far south as the Western Divide Hwy, up past California Hot Springs – in the newest Giant Sequoia park, and you can find them as far north as Gold Rush Country.

These massive Sierra redwoods are not be be confused with the tallest trees – the California Coastal Redwoods, which are found along the Pacific Ocean, from the canyons of Big Sur to rocky shores of Crescent City. The oldest living trees are the Ancient Bristlecone Pines, east of Bishop CA

ancient trees

Big, Tall, Old Trees

A break down of all the redwood parks by geographic regions, so you can find exactly what you are looking for, without the confusing name games.

Wikipedia: an excellent list of Giant Sequoia Groves

Sequoia Area Maps:

Sturtevant Falls

Santa Anita Canyon, Sturtevant Falls

a day hike in the San Gabriel Mountains

Day hikes near Los Angeles, CA

Santa Anita Canyon, Angeles National Forest
From the 210 freeway, in San Gabriel Valley. East of Pasadena, exit Santa Anita Ave.
Head North/East, through neighborhood, where road becomes Chantry Flats Rd (aka, Forest Road #2N40)
proceed up the mountain to paved parking lot @ Chantry Flat. Falls Trailhead #11W14

  • 5 miles RT hike
  • 4600′ elevation
  • steep canyon w/ creek crossings
  • falls and creek subject to seasonal dry up; water flow varies
  • backpack camping only, no developed campground


more photos on trailhead


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Deep Creek Hot Springs

Deep Creek Hike-in Hot Springs

Deep Creek Canyon

Several hot spring pools line this desert canyon on the SW side of Deep Creek. There are smaller hot tubs, as well a large warm tub that is big enough to swim in. The vegetation around the springs and main creek is fairly lush for this desert terrain. A variety of trees, including willows, plus small meadows and grasslands add to the visual balance of this land. Deep Creek is one of the popular Southern California hot springs due to its proximity to the big, urban areas.

East of Lake Arrowhead; South West of I-15 @ Hesperia & Victorville

Deep Creek Hot Springs is a hike in only site.

San Bernardino National Forest
Big Bear Map

option A: Bowen Ranch, 2 mile hike
Bowen Ranch parking area, pay a fee to the crazy man and have the shortest hike to springs. The word ‘ranch” is used to describe a small shack with some junker cars. No entry after 10PM and the man at this private property is not a friendly ranger, nor is he a pleasant person to deal with (which is why we list 2 other parking options).

Interstate 15, exit Bear Valley in Victorville. Go East on Bear Valley 10 miles to Central. Turn right on Central. Just beyond the top of the hill turn left on Ocotillo, which becomes a dirt road. Turn right on Bowen Ranch Road and continue until you get to Bowen Ranch. National Forest Trail #3W02 the Goat Trail (aka Bowen trail) is 2 miles, the steepest and shortest route into the desert creek canyon.

Bowen Ranch Trail, as seen from opposite side of canyon

option B: PCT Trail Route, 6 mile hike
Interstate 15, exit Hesperia & take Main St. @ Y veer left- Rock Springs Rd., right on Deep Creek Road and follow it up to Mojave River at the Saddle Dike Embankment. Park near the dam; Look for Pacific Crest Trail sign for hike up canyon to the hot springs.

option C: Bradford Ridge, 3 mile hike
Lake Arrowhead hike-in way via the Bradford Ridge Path. Take Highway 173 East, which becomes a wide graded dirt road heading toward the desert. From the shooting (rifle) range where the pavement ends, clock your trip meter on your vehicle 3 miles further down the road. Park at small pull out on the left side. Near the sign that says ‘Narrow Bridge’, where a gated old fire is directly across. Trail head was not marked. If you are into hiking, this option is for you. Narrow sandy ridge trails, single track. Bring flashlights for a successful hike out at night.


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DeepCreek

Deep Creek Forum – deepcreekhotsprings.net
Deep Creek Volunteers – deepcreekvolunteers.com
NFS link – http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/sbnf/recarea/?recid=34152

Agua Tibia Wilderness

Agua Tibia Wilderness Area

  • 15,900 acres
  • chaparral & oak at lower elevations
  • pine & fir forest at high elevations
  • elevations range 1,700′ – ­5,000′
  • 25 miles of trail
  • summer temperatures exceed 100°F
  • occasional snow in winter
  • best in winter through spring
  • wood fires prohibited
  • portable stoves permitted
  • water scarce
  • no overnight use of pack or saddle stock
  • groups limit – 15 people
  • visitor permits required
Agua Tibia lies right on the RIVERSIDE
& SAN DIEGO COUNTY border

Cleveland National Forest
Palomar Ranger District
1634 Black Canyon Road
Ramona, CA 92065
760-788-0250

Agua Tibia Map

Agua Tibia Trailhead

This is the trailhead for Agua Tibia Wilderness located at Dripping Springs Campground on Highway 79, near Temecula CA.

See more: Agua Tibia Mountain hike details

hiking SoCal

San Mateo Canyon Wilderness

San Mateo Canyon Wilderness

  • 9,700 acres, South of Highway 74
  • hiking near Temecula, California
  • between Camp Pendleton & Lake Elsinore
  • moderate to steep terrain
  • vegetation chaparral on slopes
  • riparian vegetation in stream channels
  • oak woodland at lower elevations
  • accessible by several routes off Hwy 74
  • accessible by dirt roads
  • some access routes may be closed in wet weather
  • best times to visit are spring & fall
  • wood fires prohibited
  • portable stoves permitted
  • visitor permit required
Cleveland National Forest
Trabuco Ranger District
1147 East Sixth Street
Corona, CA 91719
714-736-1811
San Mateo Wilderness Map

Partington Cove Hike in Big Sur

Big Sur – Partington Cove

DSCN3026
Go west to & visit the oceans edge or head east to explore a deep redwood canyon.big

Approx. 5 miles South of Big Sur State Park and just north of Julia Pfeiffer Burn State Park, this unmarked dirt turnout area on Highway 1 is a rare find. Rocky shorelines at the historic point, plus the scenic tree lined waterfall & cross the highway & head east for a shady Redwood canyon forest with plenty of backpacking options into the Big Sur back country of Los Padres National Forest. From bright sunny ocean view hillsides to dark shady forests.

This portion of the highway cuts into a deep bend along the coast & has no markings to the paradise that lies within. A steep dirt fire road (down to the cove) with metal gate is your only clue. Dirt parking area on both sides of the road indicate that people have parked here before.

This un-signed secluded hide-away has a variety of landscape & sites to see. You could easily kill 6-8 hours just in this canyon alone!! Definitely not a hurry through kind of place. Take your time, enjoy the view, tide pools, bring your swim suits & refresh in the creek. Carry a picnic eastbound into a shady creek-bed canyon & watch the sun dance through the towering pines above.

Driving northbound on Highway 1, look for large hair-pin turn out in canyon area – approx. 3-5 mi. North of Julia Pfeiffer State Park in wide dirt areas along roadside. Located in between Julia State Park & Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

Hike down the dusty wide gated fire road in dry brush chaparral. The view of Redwood trees, the royal blue ocean in front of you, the sounds of a water falling creek. The trail forks off in 3 directions:

Right / Rock Beach – this a boulder lined cove where the clear fresh water stream meets the ocean. Small pools & waterfalls can be found just upstream .

Bridge Crossing / Point – through a wooden tunnel to a cliff area with tide pools & wooden structure (an old boat launch?)

Left / Up Stream – a forested canyon w/ a variety of trees; dead ends a few hundred yards up into the canyon

DSCN3021Another option to this canyon is the East side:

Hike up inland (away from ocean) into a densely forested creek area. Redwoods, waterfalls & boulders. Deer sightings are quite common in this area. Shady & dark this trail climbs gradually in elevation. One fork of the trail leads to an old Redwood Grove. A portion of the trail is closed 2.5 mi. up due to a landslide. But overall the is a perfect option for backpackers wanting a short hike.

  • Los Padres Maps (USDA)
  • Big Sur Map (NatGeo)
  • Ventana Wilderness Map w/ Silver Peak
  • Pine Creek Wilderness

    Pine Creek Wilderness Area
    East of San Diego, California

    • 13,400 acres
    • gently sloping area
    • elevations range – 2,000′ ­ 4,000′
    • vegetation is chaparral & scrub
      oak
    • riparian & woodland vegetation in stream
      bottoms
    • Pine Creek & drain the area north to
      south
    • rainbow trout in Pine Creek
    • streams are dry for parts of the year
    • several trails provide access to area
    • wood fires prohibited
    • portable stoves permitted
    • groups limit – 15 people
    • visitor permit required
    Cleveland National Forest
    Descanso Ranger District
    3348 Alpine Boulevard
    Alpine, CA 91901
    619-445-6235

    Pine Creek Wilderness Map

    Los Angeles Back Roads

    Angeles Crest Back Roads – Angeles OHV Routes & Trails

    Mt. Gleason Road / Santa Clara Divide Rd.

    Angeles Crest Hwy.2 , North 9 mi. Left onto Angeles Forest Hwy.N3, drive 12 mi. to intersection of Santa Clara Divide Rd.

    • Turn left on paved road to Mt. Gleason. Many dirt roads will eventually branch off on the right side. A forest service map is advised for dirt road exploration.
    • LOOP -Turn right & go up the mountain past Mt. Pacifico & beyond (eventually hooks back up with Hwy.2 near Chilao area.(Check with ranger if your planning on doing this loop to make sure all gates are open)

    Angeles Forest provides over 300 miles of designated OHV roads/routes. When off-roading, all vehicles must meet DMV standards for mufflers & registration. Off-highway smaller vehicles must be equipped with approved spark arresters & have valid green stickers. State law requires that ALL ATV riders wear a helmet.

    • Rowher Flats OHV Area – Santa Clara/Mojave Ranger Dist
    • Littlerock OHV Area – Santa Clara/Mojave Ranger Dist
    • San Gabriel OHV Area – San Gabriel Ranger District

    California Trail Ettiquette –

    CLOSURES: Occasionally areas may be closed due to emergency situations, for resource protection, or during specific seasons when disturbances may drive animals from important habitat. These closures are usually temporary, and your patience and cooperation is appreciated.

    RESPECT THE LAND DUDE

    • Stream banks & lake shores are especially sensitive areas; VERY susceptible to damage. These waterway & creeks in California, are sources of food and shelter to wildlife.
    • Cross streams at a 90° angle at a slow speed and – DickHead, do not travel up & down stream channels. These are precious areas.

    LEAVE A GOOD IMPRESSION: Around developed sites, give other folks the space and quiet you would appreciate. Space out the RVs if possible. It’s not an RV park kinda deal. By law OHV traffic are permitted to exit & enter campgrounds, but not to PLAY within a campground. No one likes dusty salsa. If your muffler is not quiet (you’re an ass!), push your machine in the campground, with the engine shut off.

    STAY ON THE TRAIL: Cutting switchbacks, taking shortcuts or hillside climbing may be a big thrill & challenge, but once vehicle scars the earth, other vehicles follow. The mob mentality maybe, Macho shit. The deep muddy ruts do long-lasting damage to vegetation, plus it doe not help w/ erosion. Rains cause further damage by washing deep gullies in tire ruts. Vegetation & wildlife habitat is lost. Ugly, permanent, unsightly scars on the earth result. Staying on trails helps protect the land. And helps keep trails open!!

    Become a Adopt-a-Trail Volunteer – contact your local NFS
    Outdoor Volunteering in California!

    Angeles Forest – LA Back Roads

    nearby towns –

    Angeles Maps – hiking, OHV & mountain biking –

    Hauser Wilderness

    Hauser Wilderness Area

    • 8,000 acres, south of Interstate 8
    • steep slopes & granite boulders
    • vegetation is chaparral & coastal sage
    • elevations range – 1,600′ ­ 3,681′
    • Pacific Crest Trail passes to the east
    • Barrett Reservoir
    • wood fires prohibited
    • portable stoves permitted
    • groups limit – 15 people
    • visitor permit required
    Cleveland National Forest
    Descanso Ranger District
    3348 Alpine Blvd.
    Alpine, CA 91901
    619-445-6235

    Hauser Pine Creek Wilderness map

    PCT Maps

    Hiking Trails San Diego

    Split Mountain Anza Borrego

    Anza Borrego Desert State Park

    Fish Creek Campground

    E of Borrego Springs CA.

    Well off Highway 78, past the busy OHV area, quads at Ocotillo Wells, past all the rural homes & the redneck bar, past the Elephant Trees hike – where the road goes from pavement to graded dirt to a wild desert wash, in a few short miles. If you don’t know where you are, then you’re almost there.

    This is a large wild desert wash with huge unstable walls, several areas for wind caves and a few historic markers. Lots of 4×4 trails beyonf Split Mountain, to the south. No real water in sight, except maybe the puddle you are standing in as it starts to poor. The soft sand can give way to a few heavy rain drops. May not be a great area to be during a serious storm or flash flood possibility, unless you want to get buried alive. Check the weather forecast in advance.

    A ratty, small developed campground of Fish Creek is on the left side, upon the ledge. Fish Creek Campground is picnic tables & a pit toilet – at most. Ya may as well camp out in the open, off road, like the pioneers did. You can do that out here in Anza Borrego. (Just keep it clean & carry a metal fire container.)

    split mountain

    Split Mountain, Anza Borrego Desert State Park

    This portion of the “mountain” is less than a mile from Fish Creek Campground. Fossils can be found in these walls. Shade is good in summer months, when day temps reach 100+. The rest of the year is ideal weather. This mountain split from water, erosion, mega force. High walls, wind caves, desert washes, great primitive camping & 4×4 routes.

    This desert scenic drive will require you to get that SUV dusty. 4 wheel drive not required. No RVs past the campground. All low lying passenger cars are warned, there are uneven areas, soft sand & boulders.

    Duh, do not attempt this one when desert flash floods are possible.

    ANZA BORREGO STATE PARK

    ANZA BORREGO MAP

    SAN DIEGO BACKCOUNTRY MAP

    nearby towns –

  • BORREGO SPRINGS CA
  • OCOTILLO WELLS CA
  • SALTON SEA CA

    splitmountain

    Great desert back road exploring out here. A zillions washes & canyons.

  • Mount Charleston Vegas

    Mt Charleston Las Vegas NV

    Mount Charleston Las Vegas NV

    Mount Charleston Resort
    Mount Charleston Resort

    Mt Charleston cabin rentals, vacation homes and 2 mountain lodges are located near the Spring Mountain Recreation Area, just outside of the Sin City limits. The tall alpine mountains behind RedRock SP, NW of Las Vegas, Nevada are virtually unknown by many non-locals. Great hiking, mountain biking, camping and waterfalls, plus a small seasonal ski and snowboard resort are some of the highlights. Imagine snowboarding Vegas!

    Mt Charleston Hikes
    Red Rock Canyon Map

    Las Vegas Forest Hikes

    Vegas means “the meadows”, but it sure seems more like desert these days. The forest is just up the hill, past the red rock and tract homes, well past the Joshua Trees. Conifer forests, snow and high elevation, less than an hours drive from the Vegas strip. Toiyabe – Humboldt NF is this public land managed by the US National Forest system. Toiyabe also covers Eastern Sierra slopes. Get California Toiyabe NF maps. Get the Nevada State Park map here!

    Camping Vegas

    Due to extreme dry conditions and wildfire danger no open camp fires are allowed from mid-April to mid-November in the Mount Charleston region. Several developed campgrounds, plus a primitive (dirt road) camp area off Lee Canyon. Cabin rentals are located at the Charleston Lodge.

    • Vegas trails
    • Hiking in Vegas
    • Mount Charleston skiing
    • Mt Charleston hikes

    9N09 – Los Padres NF

    Quatal Canyon

    Quattale

    Quatal Cyn: Forest Road #9N09 – Los Padres National Forest

    Toad Spring Campground is located at high elevations (5700′) of Quatal Canyon, on a dirt road, half mile off the pavement of Cerro Noroeste Rd. The Chumash Wilderness, the Cuyama River Valley, Apache Saddle, Mount Abel plus the Bittercreek National Wildlife Refuge all surround this region. Los Padres National Forest meets the vineyards, orchards & farmlands, near Ventucopa. This is the badlands – 18 mile scenic dirt road, well signed at Hwy 33 & mostly graded. Quatal Cyn connects Ojai’s Highway 33 to the pinyon pine forest above near Pine Mountain Club (@ nearly a straight line?) Motorcycle dirt bikes & off-roaders dig this place. Street bikes will prefer paved Cerro Noroeste which runs the rim above to the north.

    This major dirt road is not gated at either end, but winter sometimes closes the route due to snow depth. It never stays closed very long, as some beefy 4×4 will break thru the snow berm soon enough. Top elevation @ Cerro Noreste is approximately 5500′.

    Quatal Canyon (possible Chumash word for Snake) is a giant high desert wash, ripping down from Cerro Noroeste (aka Mt Abel). Serious erosion w/ San Andreas fault lines – make it a very interesting canyon to explore on foot, horseback, motorbike, or mountain bike. The lupine & wildflowers here are incredible in late Spring in this red dirt canyon. Both nearby mountain peaks of Mount Abel & Mount Pinos are the tallest in Kern County.

    This rugged primitive canyon gets torn up during a good storm in late summer or a big winter storm. Red dirt gets very slippery – especially on the edges of a cliff. Boulders in the road, flash floods – or no road, river of mud! 2WD passenger cars can take this route in dry months, but high clearance is usually preferred. 4×4 is needed during heavy rain or snow – which could be half the year (Nov-April). Flash flooding is possible all over Los Padres NF, so know the weather forecast in advance.

    Seen small RVs, trucks pulling trailers & even a U-haul moving truck down this way. MapQuest always amazes me where they route you. This is a graded dirt road, some of the time. MapQuest should post a ‘see Total Escape for this route’. Come on folks, if you’re traveling cross-country, while moving your residence, buy a real map to explore the National Forests of California. You may end up sleeping way out here – broken down in the moving van, in the boonies & no cell coverage, cuz you had a one page, wrinkled map in faded ink, wet & smeared. And MapQuest told you it was paved. It’s not paved 90% of the way.

    Primitive camping is also allowed in the canyon wash or on the side routes, in certain seasons. Use an existing camp site when possible. Clean out the rock fire ring of litter & bottles, pull back all dry brush at camps & leave these places better than you found ’em. There are hundreds of dispersed campsites out here. The open wash is especially nice on a full moon hike, just bring friends – cuz it is considered “big cat country”. Camp fire restrictions are in tight control on this SoCal region. You will need a camp fire permit, a big shovel & lotsa water. Check with the Los Padres rangers to make sure. Recently Zaca Fire (2007) & the month long Day Fire (2006) both came very close to this precious sanctuary.

    The high desert terrain is pinyon forest, with yucca & manzanita. The eroded cliffs of red rock, white & orange hues, glow best during the clearest sunsets. You will almost think your in Utah, until you get up on a ridge & see the smog in the Central Valley of California.

    Mahu Tasen, a Native American camp and sweat lodge, has ceremonial grounds in a canyon off of Quatal. There is also a large rock quarry mining operation, as well as numerous wineries and ranches along this route. Several private residences too.

    Ballinger Canyon OHV Park is close by, 5 miles N on Hwy 33

    Carrizo Plain National Monument is also pretty close, N off Hwy 166

    towns nearby –

    PINE MOUNTAIN CA

    MARICOPA CA

    VENTUCOPA CA

    helpful maps of the region –

    Quatal Chumash Lands